THE Movement for Economic Change (MEC) is proud to head into the 7 October 2022 elections with 40 percent female candidates, leader Selibe Mochoboroane, has said.
Addressing a rally in Hololo, Butha-Buthe this week, Mr Mochoboroane said that 32 female candidates would represent the MEC in the 80 constituencies up for direct contest.
“A total of 32 women will represent us in the forthcoming elections, that constitutes 40 percent of our candidates,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
‘’This is part of our efforts to empower women and young people. The female candidates were chosen by party members. I did not impose even a single candidate; they were all chosen by party members.”
The MEC has also resolved to have more women in leadership, be it at party or national level.
Mr Mochoboroane said his party was looking for members “of good thinking” below the age of 35 to represent it.
“We need to have people who are diverse to formulate our policies. We want to have a mix of seasoned political administrators and young blood to take us forward. We need inclusive policies.”
He also reiterated that an MEC government would work hard to uproot corruption that he said was bleeding the country.
It would also create jobs.
“We have always talked about economic politics when it was not fashionable in this country. When everyone else was talking about the killings taking place in the country, we dwelt on the economy and the need to grow it.
“In the run up to the 2017 elections other parties were busy with politics of belittlement, insults, hatred, lies and gossip. Today I am proud that this pattern has changed drastically. Leaders now compete against each other with their manifestos,” Mr Mochoboroane, who is also Development Planning minister, said.
He said it was interesting to see that other parties were taking after the MEC in preaching economic growth at their rallies. These included the Democratic Congress (DC), Basotho Action Party (BAP), and the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), he said.
“This says they have heard us and appreciate our policies. We have set the bar,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
His government will also prioritise employment creation.
“The challenges that we identified before the 2017 elections remain unabated. The fact that the rate of unemployment remains high shows that we are not making progress as a country,” he said.
An MEC government will ensure that civil servants are given 50 percent of their pensions as a lump sum instead of the 25 percent that they are getting currently.
This will motivate them to take early retirement and leave gaps that need to be filled by young people.
His government would also assist small business to market their goods and services.
Mr Mochoboroane said there was also need to allocate at least 20 percent of the national budget to local government as part of decentralising services.
In this regard, his government would give chiefs adequate resources to executive their duties without being tempted to engage in corrupt activities.
It would also enhance public policing forums to enable them to fight crime.
Mr Mochoboroane said he would also engage South African authorities to bring back Basotho suspected of hiding in the Free State after committing crimes here at home.
“We don’t know what’s difficult for these people to be brought to book. We need to convince our South African counterparts that we need each other if we are to win the battle against crime.
“We are also of the view that murder suspects should be denied bail. It should only be granted to those who kill by accident or in self defence. If that doesn’t work then the death penalty should be activated and I swear it wouldn’t be a problem to get applicants for that job,” he said.
Mr Mochoboroane said he would engage councillors and Members of Parliament to ensure proper demarcation of roles and to avoid conflict.
His government would also introduce stipends for village health workers.
“These are the people who are always at the forefront of providing services but they are never appreciated. They are the same people who helped Lesotho fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Covid-19, yet they are not rewarded well.
“They are still getting M800 per month and sometimes they don’t even get it at all. Our government will see to it that they are paid a minimum M2000 per month.
“No economy can grow if its population is ill and unfit. For any economy to succeed, its people must be healthy. That is why we must treat village health workers with respect and remunerate them adequately,” he said.
There was also need to look into the plight of herd boys who are promised payment at the end of the year but get fired when the time approaches.
“The salaries and working conditions of domestic workers and supermarket employees also need to be improved. The Ministry of Labour and Employment should ensure that employers’ rights are respected,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
An MEC government would help farmers to boost food production. Lesotho used to produce about 166 metric tonnes of grain but this had now dropped by 60 percent, yet every year the government subsidises farmers, he said.